EBRI May 2011 Policy Forum #68

Is There a Future for Retirement?


Speaker biographies

Agenda and Presentations

Opening presentation: Dallas Salisbury, EBRI.

Second presentation: How long will Baby Boomers and Gen Xers need to work for a 50, 70, and 80 percent probability of adequate retirement income? (Jack VanDerhei and Craig Copeland, EBRI).

Panel 1: Can financially feasible retirement ages be kept within a generally acceptable range for a significant percentage of U.S. households?

Panel 2: What are the implications/consequences of a significant percentage of Gen Xers and Baby Boomers needing to work past Social Security NRA for a financially feasible retirement?

Panel 3: Is there a future for retirement? (short comments by a range of experts).

  • Dan Rosshirt, Deloitte Consulting LLP.
  • Deb Cohen, Society for Human Resource Management.
  • Randy DeFrehn, National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans.
  • Tom Johnson, New York Life Insurance Company.
  • Charles Clark, Milliman, Inc.
  • Josh Cohen, Russell Investments.
  • Laurie Nordquist, Wells Fargo.
  • Steve Utkus, Vanguard Group.

Final remarks: Dallas Salisbury, EBRI.

Relevant Recent EBRI Research:

  • March 2011 Issue Brief, “The 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey: Confidence Drops to Record Lows Reflecting the “New Normal” —The 21st wave of the Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) finds that Americans’ confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement has plunged to a new low at the same time that the recent declines in other retirement confidence indicators appear to be stabilizing. Instead of making fundamental adjustments to their spending and saving patterns in response to the decline in confidence, workers continue to change their expectations about how they will transition from work to retirement in what has been called an age of “the new normal.”
  • February 2011 Issue Brief, “A Post Crisis Assessment of Retirement Income Adequacy for Baby Boomers and GenXers”—The analysis in this paper was designed to answer two questions: 1) What percentage of U.S. households became “at risk” of insufficient retirement income as a result of the financial market and real estate crisis in 2008 and 2009? 2) Of those who are at risk, what additional savings do they need to make each year until retirement age to make up for their losses from the crisis? The results are from the 2010 EBRI Retirement Security Projection Model® by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
  • December 2010 Issue Brief, “Funding Savings Needed for Health Care Expenses for Persons Eligible for Medicare”—This report updates earlier modeling by EBRI on the level of savings needed for health care expenses in retirement. Some prior estimates have been significantly revised down as a result of changes to Medicare Part D cost sharing that will be phased in by 2020 due to recently enacted health reform. However, the research indicates that retirees will continue to need a substantial amount of savings to cover their health care expenses in retirement, and that uncertainty related to health care use, prescription drug use, and longevity will still play a major role in planning for retiree health care.
  • November 2010 Issue Brief, “The Impact of Auto-Enrollment and Automatic Contribution Escalation on Retirement Income Adequacy”— This Issue Brief expands upon earlier work by EBRI to provide the first results of a new simulation model that estimates the impact of changing 401(k) plan design variables and assumptions on retirement income adequacy. Previous research has demonstrated the large potential impact of auto-enrollment (AE) on retirement income adequacy. Until recently however, there was extremely limited evidence on the impact of automatic contribution escalation. This study is part of a larger joint project between Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and the Defined Contribution Institutional Investment Association (DCIIA).
  • October 2010 Notes article, “Retirement Savings Shortfalls for today’s Workers”—Using its unique Retirement Security Projection Model® EBRI can estimate the total national aggregate and individual retirement deficits at age 65 for Early Boomers (born between 1948–1954, now ages 56–62), Late Boomers (born between 1955–1964, now ages 46–55), and Generation Xers (born between 1965–1974, now ages 36–45). This article reports these 2010 Retirement Savings Shortfalls (RSS).
  • September 2010 Notes article, “Retirement Income Adequacy for Today’s Workers: How Certain, How Much Will It Cost, and How Does Eligibility for Participation in a Defined Contribution Plan Help?”— This analysis builds on EBRI’s Retirement Security Projection Model® (RSPM) to determine how much households need to save each year until retirement to maintain a probability level they will be able to afford simulated retirement expenses for the remainder of the lifetime of the family unit.
  • July 2010 Issue Brief, “The EBRI Retirement Readiness Rating:™ Retirement Income Preparation and Future Prospects”—The EBRI Retirement Readiness Rating™ was developed in 2003 to provide assessment of national retirement income prospects. The 2010 update uses the most recent data and considers retirement plan changes (e.g., automatic enrollment, auto escalation of contributions, and diversified default investments resulting from the Pension Protection Act of 2006) as well as updates for financial market performance and employee behavior (based on a database of 24 million 401(k) participants).